Jump-Start an Online Teaching Business in 9 Steps

Chances are you’re good at something, maybe even an expert. Now, there’s a way to monetize that skill: teaching others online. There are a number of websites that offer people the chance to teach classes via video and get paid for it.

The premise is simple: Shoot a video of yourself teaching a class about whatever topic you like. Upload it to one of the sites, and let people all over the world pay you for the chance to learn what you know. Then, sit back while the cash rolls in.

Sites structure themselves differently — some require an upfront fee while others don’t. Pretty much all of them take a cut of the tuition.

For some people, such videos can be a cash cow. Some websites report their most successful instructors can pull in six figures. And once the video is live, it can be a source of mostly passive income.

Here are some steps to help you get started:

1. Choose your topic

Obviously, you should teach something you know a lot about, but it should also be something you enjoy doing — your enthusiasm will come through in your lessons.

The array of possible classes is simply mind-boggling: pastry making, street fighting, yoga, solving a Rubik’s cube, chess tactics, Latin and more.

2. Select your platform

There are a number of different sites that host online classes. In addition to Udemy, which was founded in 2009, the websites Skillshare, WizIQ and Alison allow people to teach classes about nearly any topic under the sun. Google also offers a course builder, with loads of tools for developing your class.

The different platforms use different business models, from paying you per student to giving you a share of advertising revenue. So, decide which model works best for you.

The different platforms have different requirements for what teachers do and how they do it. Choose where you want to post your lesson upfront so you can develop one that fits with the site’s guidelines.

3. Write your script

Don’t just get on camera and wing it — write down what you want to say. Read it over a few times to make sure you haven’t left anything out. Try the old trick of reading it to yourself in the mirror so you can work out some of the kinks.

4. Get some feedback

Before you actually start recording, have others weigh in on what you’ve developed. Find another expert to fact-check what you wrote. Find a test audience to make sure that viewers will actually be learning what you are teaching.

Once you have a viable, vetted script, move on to making the video. For more tips on getting a polished delivery on video, check out “How to Nail a Video Job Interview in 10 Steps.” Many of the same concepts apply here.

Once the video is finished, have someone review it.

5. Buy the right gear

Many, if not most computers come with a camera and microphone, so you probably have what you need for recording the video already. If not, you will have to make the investment.

Remember to keep those receipts — this is a business, and you can probably deduct the cost of the gear at tax time from any profits you make. Check with your tax adviser to be sure.

You’ll also want some video editing software, so you can polish up the final product. People aren’t expecting Hollywood-level production values, but a slapdash presentation could irritate your viewers or make it difficult for them to follow. And that will affect whether they recommend you to others.

6. Consider your surroundings

Make sure you think about what’s behind you wherever you plan to record your video. Go for a solid, neutral background, which will be less distracting.

7. Set your price

Like any business, you’ll want to be competitive. See what others are charging for similar classes, and try to understand where you fit in. People will pay a premium if your class is substantively better, but you need to earn the credibility that lets you charge more.

8. Don’t forget marketing

Just because you built it doesn’t mean they will come. You need to find ways to market your course so it stands out above others on the same topic. Many websites take a higher percentage of the tuition if they bring in a student, so it’s money in your pocket if you bring them in yourself.

Contact friends and colleagues, let people know on Facebook or other social media platforms, and encourage your networks to spread the word. Consider setting up an internet presence for your teaching business, so you can send out news about updates to your students.

9. Make another one

If people like your first few classes, keep making them. The more you have up, the more chances there are for people to (pay for the chance to) learn from you. Plus, now you have a customer base eager for the next installment.

Do you have a skill or interest that you could teach online? Share with us in comments or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
How Baby Boomers Are Earning an Extra $573 a Month
How Baby Boomers Are Earning an Extra $573 a Month

In the gig economy, baby boomers are out-hustling their younger competition. You can cash in, too.

9 Products That Will Organize Your Home for Under $45
9 Products That Will Organize Your Home for Under $45

These clever Amazon finds can help transform a messy nest into the pristine home of your dreams.

Half of All Retirees Say They Fear This
Half of All Retirees Say They Fear This

Chances are good that you share this fear. Here’s a way to overcome it.

8 Things You Can Buy for $1 or Less on Amazon
8 Things You Can Buy for $1 or Less on Amazon

They say you get what you pay for — but not always. Sometimes, you can uncover a good deal at a great price.

15 Things You Should Always Buy at Yard Sales
15 Things You Should Always Buy at Yard Sales

You can save a ton of money — especially if you spot any of these items.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone
8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone

It’s never too early to start learning how to live well while living on less.

Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?
Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?

Can an adult daughter tap into her late mother’s benefit?

11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco
11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco

Not all generics are worthwhile, but these are among the best from Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers

For the second straight year, a growing number of Americans believe they’ve fallen prey to this scam.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have all of these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

27 Things You Should Never Pay For — and How to Get Them for Free
27 Things You Should Never Pay For — and How to Get Them for Free

When you know the tricks, you can save big on all kinds of useful things that others pay for.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?
Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?

The rules are complicated when it comes to eligibility for survivors benefits.

15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry
9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s
10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s

From snacks to sweets to side dishes, stock your cart with these time-tested favorites on your next TJ’s run.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.